Wednesday, December 1 2021

EBENSBURG – A kiln fire that spread to the ventilation system triggered the evacuation of 63 residents on Tuesday afternoon at Turner Apartments in Ebensburg.

Officials were dispatched at around 2 p.m. to report a fire in a building with entrapment in the senior supportive housing building on

700 N. Center St.

Upon arriving at the scene, Dauntless Fire Chief Mike Sheehan said the fire was contained within the ventilation system and all residents were able to exit the building safely.

“There was no one trapped” he said, noting that when firefighters arrived at the scene, they helped get people out of the building.

Officials from the Altoona Housing Authority, which manages the apartments, said no injuries were reported.

“It was a coordinated effort”, Sheehan said of the evacuation.

Working in the scorching heat, first responders helped many residents escape the building to safety. Once outside, residents were helped by paramedics from Carrolltown, Ebensburg and Jackson Township, who set up a seat to provide oxygen and other support.

Sheehan said the summer heat added another barrier to the firefighters’ work.

Additional paramedics have set up a rehabilitation station for firefighters to help them cool off, and Ebensburg’s ServePro has provided packets of bottled water to those in need, officials said.

Sheehan said the fire was mostly contained in the ventilation system and the building sustained minor damage.

The majority of the smoke, he said, remained on the first floor in the maintenance area.

“When we arrived on the scene, we had normal conditions from the outside”, Sheehan said. “Police confirmed the presence of smoke behind the building and crews found a blocked and burnt dryer vent.”

Officials at the Altoona Housing Authority were unable to provide an estimate of the cost of the damage.

The fire departments of the canton of Cambria, Loretto and Revloc responded to the scene.

Cambria County emergency management officials were also on hand to assist with mitigation efforts.

Once the building was cleared, the residents were helped to reenter. No residents have been displaced, officials said.

Mirror staff writer Calem Illig is at 814-946-7535.

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